The easiest option when travelling the 500km distance from Phong Nha to Hanoi is by bus. This overnight bus journey takes 8.5 hours and costs $14. Other options include taking the train (11.5 hours) or a flight (6 hours).
We recommend taking the night bus from Phong Nha to Hanoi. This is the most convenient option and saves you a day of travelling.
Taking the night train is another good option, but requires an extra bus or taxi ride from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi railway station. This means you will have to add another 1.5 hour travel time to the 10-hour train ride from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha. The advantage of the night train is that they offer decent beds to get a good night of sleep.
Third, you can also take a flight but we don’t recommend this option since you will lose the largest part of your day on travelling. When travelling by flight, you also have to take a taxi or bus from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi Airport and another one from Hanoi airport to Hanoi center.
If you want to book with Hey Travel and Camel Travel, you can book online via BookAway.
We prefer Queen Cafe as they drop you closest to the center of Hanoi. The other options may require an additional taxi ride to reach your accommodation. You can see their pick-up and drop-off points below.
Departs from Central Backpackers Hostel in Phong Nha city center
Arrives at 208 Tran Quang Khai near Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi city center
Departs from Easy Tiger Hostel in Phong Nha city center
Arrives at 1 Tran Khanh Du, south of Hanoi city center
Departs from Nam Anh Hotel in Phong Nha city center
Arrives at 282 Tran Khat Chan, south of city center
Departs from Phong Nha Backpacker Hostel in Phong Nha city center
Arrives at 459 Tran Khat Chan, south of city center
Phong Nha to Hanoi by Train
Duration: 11 hours Cost: 595,000 VND ($26)
When you decide to travel by train, you first have to get to Dong Hoi railway station. The station is about 40km south of Phong Nha and takes 1.5 hours by bus or taxi from Phong Nha.
We recommend to take a night train on this route, so you don’t lose a day for the 10-hour train journey. Thanks to the comfortable beds on the night train, you can get a good night of sleep and even save a night on accommodation!
Step 1: Phong Nha to Dong Hoi Railway Station by Bus
Duration: 1-1.5 hours Cost: 60,000 VND ($2.60)
From Phong Nha you can take the local bus to Dong Hoi bus station for just 35,000 VND ($1.50).
From the bus station, you can take a taxi for 25,000 VND ($1.10) to Dong Hoi railway station. Buses from Phong Nha start operating from 5:30 and the last bus leaves at 17:00. You can find more information about the bus schedules on the page of Dong Hoi.
Alternatively, you can arrange a taxi in Phong Nha for about 500,000 VND ($22).
Step 2: Dong Hoi to Hanoi by Train
Duration: 10 hours Cost: 535,000 VND ($23)
We recommend taking either SE2 or SE4 since they have more convenient arrival times than the SE10. Double-check the current schedule with your hotel to make sure you don’t miss the latest bus from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi.
When taking one of the latest buses, you will still have some time to get dinner and buy some snacks or drinks for the train ride. Before you go to sleep, you will also have plenty of time to go through your pictures, update your travel diary or watch a movie on your tablet. And when you wake up the next morning, the sunrise in Hanoi will be waiting for you!
Prices indicated are for 6-person cabins. Choosing a seat doesn’t make much sense and in that case, you are better off taking a bus.
Phong Nha to Hanoi by Flight
Duration: 6 hours Cost: 950,000 VND ($41.50)
The third option you have is to fly from Dong Hoi airport to Hanoi. The disadvantage of this option is that you first have to take a bus or taxi from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi Airport and from Hanoi Airport to the city center.
When you include some extra time at the airport, this counts up to more than 6 hours in total. This way you almost lose a complete day on travelling by plane. That’s why we prefer to travel this distance by train or bus during the night.
When travelling by air the schedule will look as follows:
Method of transport
Taxi from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi Airport
400,000 – 500,000 VND ($17.50 – $22)
Flight from Dong Hoi Airport – Hanoi Airport (Bamboo Airways)
Looking for a room in the middle of the Old Quarter? Ancient Lane Hotel offers very clean rooms nicely decorated with ancient attributes. The hosts Thuy and Tuan will make sure you'll have a great stay!
Just landed in Hanoi? In this hotel, you will get the best night of sleep you had since ages. The friendly staff will give you a warm welcome and serve a wonderful breakfast buffet the next morning! Located in the middle of the center, but completely isolated from all the noise.
For many travellers, Halong Bay is one of the highlights of Vietnam. The stunning landscape and breathtaking views over the limestone rocks look almost unreal!
To experience Halong Bay in the best way, you can book a boat cruise departing from Hanoi. Organized tours departing from Hanoi are often cheaper than tours sold by agencies in Halong Bay and another advantage is that you don't need to organize your transport to get there.
We recommend to book your boat tour online to get the best prices and be certain that you book with a trusted company. I already spoke to many travellers who booked boat trips from a random agency on the street and were very disappointed by the service and conditions of this boat.
See here our recommendtion of well-rated boat cruises